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RCS super: Give me a chance

McCartney hopes in return to education he can lift troubled district

Alan McCartney sits at his new desk at the RCS District office in Ravena.

Alan McCartney sits at his new desk at the RCS District office in Ravena. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— He is now meeting with faculty, staff and members of the community to help ease their minds and answer any questions they may have. He is hoping those within the district will look at his 16 years of experience and think of what he accomplished at Voorheesville.

“We created new programs for the humanities, increased reading and math scores and were ranked No. 1 in the Capital Region for a long time,” he said. “We increased graduation rate and attendance rates, built brand new facilities and a performance arts center.”

McCartney said RCS is on the right track, and now he wants to work on getting rid of programs that are unpopular or aren’t showing progress. He is also looking toward the coming budget session, but added a priority will be to change how people perceive the district.

In recent months, a member of the school board was arrested and another proclaimed himself a sovereign citizen. Lawsuits have been filed against the district and the state Education Department reviewed allegations of voter fraud during the May budget vote.

McCartney compared the school district to a ship and said if everyone is rowing in different directions, the ship stays in one spot.

“What I’ve got to do is steer the ship so it starts to catch the wind and we’re all going in the same direction,” he said.

McCartney said there are too many “extraneous issues” that are being left unsolved, and he is hoping to get them taken care of so they no longer hang over the good work the district is doing. He sees outside influences as hindering the educational progress of the district.

The superintendent is now working to make sure parents are better informed to help prevent rumors and is meeting with each school board member individually to hear them out and promote an atmosphere of compromise.

“You cannot let all those external things move you away from what your vital mission is, which is the education of the district’s children,” he said. “If I have to make a decision, I ask myself how the outcome is going to impact the students, and that’s how it has to be.”

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